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No. of Recommendations: 4
Hey Joel, long time since we've chatted!

Just to complicate things, let me point out that brokered CDs DO work exactly like bonds and Treasuries. What you are referencing are typical bank CDs that are bought directly; but if you buy a CD through your broker, it's typically a brokered CD and the price on those do tend to fluctuate based on interest rates.

Great distinction, thanks.

BTW, found any new undervalued investments lately? ;-)

Sadly, not a lot.

I still like Sears bonds and still own a fairly large stake there adn am a buyer (both in SSRAP, which I can not longer trade at my current broker, and also the Dealer/OTC SRAC bonds).

I made a post last year on the DM board which summed up my portfolio... it's not terribly different from that this year but with less exposure overall. (

A few things that are new that I'm looking into:

1) ESV - Ensco PLC - They are an offshore drilling services company. Trades for about book (but there is goodwill in there) and maybe 7-10x earnings depending on what you believe normal earnings are. And they payout roughly 50%. They don't have a lot of insider ownership and the long time CEO is changing - both of which are causing me to hesitate.

2) MIL - MFC Industrial - Hard to explain here. Basically one of Michael Smith's entities dealing in commodity trading / banking, but I'm still not comfortable investing along side Michael Smith as he has used outside shareholders in the past. However, the business seems cheap, and I'm trying to look anew at this in the spirit of overcoming past biases. We'll see. I also have a nostalgic connection since he picked up the Compton Petroleum assets in a fire sale and Compton was one of my biggest losses. :)

3) AIG - Subsequent to the post above, I did buy a decent stake in AIG warrants. They've moved up a bit, but they still offer a long term, below book strike on AIG which I think will prove to be very valuable as the ship is righted slowly and the market stigma and valuation discount are reduced.

4) SHOS - Another one I've taken a stake in. Seems like a pretty decent business that was spun off of SHLD. I think there is a long term growth story here but it probably carries many of the stigma's of SHLD. Trades at book, big insider ownership. Stock is cheap due to SHLD connection, uncertainties about ESL's winding down and business relationship with SHLD (if one will be favored over the other).

5) Tax Loss Ideas - Not generally an area I play in, but I think low coupon preferred (especially those issued this year) have been hit unusually hard. GGN-PB is one example of a basically AAA perpetual credit trading at a 6.5% current yield. Seems boring, but there is some capital appreciation possibility, and those looking for (very) safe income should look here. Other things that may be aren't great long term, but probably good for a bounce (did I just say that?) are things that were shalacked broadly this year - GDX as a broad category for instance.


Bottom line is that I don't have a ton of great (new) ideas, but I keep uncovering a few special situations and generally my portfolio is more conservatively positioned than it has been in a long time. I like a lot of my holdings, but I have some decent sized hedges as well now that performed poorly in '13, but I think should do better looking forward (don't I hope).

Any ideas on your side?

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